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South Bend group discusses crime prevention measures

SOUTH BEND, Ind. —- A group in South Bend met on Thursday to discuss crime in the city. 

Melvin Blakeley Jr. hosted the event inside his event space on Mishawaka Avenue. He said it was important to host the event because he wants to be a part of the solution to curb crime.


“A lot of things that I see going on in the city is just, the negative is getting most of the attention right now,” Blakely said. 


Blakely is a 20-year police veteran from Kokomo. He said since he’s been in South Bend the crime overshadows the work being done to combat it. 


The people who came out to the event were local pastors, activists, and concerned residents. Tiera Thomas, who lives in South Bend, shared with the group about how crime has affected her family. 


“There’s obviously something going on within people’s lives personally, that they’re crying out for help,” Thomas said. 


The fatal shooting of Helen Higginbotham, 71, by her ex-husband Edward Zelasko, 76, is the latest instance of violence in South Bend. Police said Zelasko died in a local hospital after attempting suicide.


“You never know when violence is going to erupt in the city,” said Pastor Canneth Lee, with S.A.V.E. “But what we can do is try to arm people with the tools to walk away from it or to get help if they find themselves in a violent situation.”


Blakely and the group said they were looking forward to the work ahead together. 

“We can support each other,” said Blakely.


The next meeting talking about crime prevention in South Bend will be on Tuesday, November 13. A meeting between local leaders and the community will discuss synthetic marijuana with business owners suspected of selling the substance.

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